The Martial Arts Industry Association's MASuccess Magazine exists to help grow martial arts participation by helping school owners succeed.
by Christopher Rappold
Recently, a friend shared with me an experience about going to see a chiropractor. The person was highly recommended and had a mystique about him. Over the years, he’d worked with many pro athletes, and he wasn’t shy about showing it on his website and in his lobby.
When my friend met with the doctor, he was treated more like the next number in a factory line of patients rather than a person seeking healing. The chiropractor poked and prodded my friend in all his injured and inflamed areas, creating enough pain to cause him to nearly fall off the treatment table.
As I listened to his story, I was thinking about many similar experiences I’ve witnessed in the martial arts. Here’s one example: A student takes a seminar conducted by someone he admires. He’s picked to go to the front of the class for a demonstration and surrenders his arm to the instructor. The subsequent application of force is so painful that the student has a...
A Successful Business Requires a Talented Person at the Helm!
by Kelly Murray-Grys
I started training in the martial arts in 1986 when I was just 4 years old. I was the only girl in my class and, even more notable, one of very few girls I knew who did karate. The dojo didn’t have air conditioning to deal with the summer heat, and we all did our pushups on our knuckles on the hardwood floor. On more than a few occasions, I was hit in the abdomen to the point of having the wind knocked out of me while being told that if I’d kept my guard up, I wouldn’t have gotten hit. Needless to say, it was a different time to be a martial artist.
A couple of other observations from that time: Our instructors didn’t give much thought to our feelings, nobody cared if we were under the weather on a given day, chest protectors hadn’t become the norm, and it was considered a privilege to mop the dojo floor at the end of the day. The staff of the school was composed...
by Dave Kovar
In my 40-plus years of running a martial arts school, I have seen many people come and go. I’ve also seen a handful of organizations that have continued to grow and thrive, decade after decade. In my effort to find out what has kept those schools in the game for so long, I’ve stumbled across what I refer to as the “four quadrants.” Although they might not use this terminology, the schools that excel have these in common.
The four quadrants consist of the individual and the team when viewed from an internal and an external perspective. They’re loosely based on my studies of Ken Wilber’s program on Integral Business.
1 — Individual Internal 2 — Team Internal
by Christopher Rappold
I have often said that I could learn the most advanced form of math provided I had access to a teacher who possessed the ability to meet me where my clear understanding of math comes to an end and build my knowledge from that point. In fact, I’m quite sure that most people, given a strong desire and a great teacher, would experience similar success.
If you follow this line of thinking, you know that your success as a martial arts instructor lies in your ability to break down concepts into small incremental-learning modules that build on each other.
When I was introduced to martial arts, the start of the journey was a rite of passage to see if I was tough enough to stick out the training. I learned how to spar by sparring. I remember my instructor telling us to find some boxing gloves in the closet, then grab a partner and start sparring. Simple as that. While there’s no denying that this can work, the percentage of people who are able to...
by Nguyen “Tom” Griggs
Something that many leaders — and people in general — deal with regularly is the urge to overdo certain aspects of their jobs. We all know someone who was given a chance to run things and let it go to his or her head, or the person simply did too much to try to impress the boss. Here’s an example.
When I was in fourth grade, we had a substitute teacher. She was a regular substitute at our school and was known for being tough. Many students saw her as someone who tried too hard and was out to prove something. Those personality traits made her stubborn and unwilling to understand other perspectives.
One day when she was subbing in our class, she was her usual overcompensating self. In the class was a student who stuttered. She called on him to answer a question, and he was silent. She became irate and then berated him.
When he remained silent, she took things to another level and demanded that he go to the chalkboard to...
by Eric P. Fleishman
As martial arts schools reopen, school owners everywhere are seeing new sign-ups. Enrollment is rising because people are once again free to congregate safely, and the numbers are being boosted by the popularity of TV shows like Cobra Kai.
With all these new students trying out their new moves, keeping everyone safe and healthy becomes the priority. Nothing puts a damper on enlightenment-through-training like the pain of an unexpected injury. However, by implementing a proper warmup along with a comprehensive stretching regimen, you can dramatically decrease the chance of injury. With that in mind, I offer this list of the five most important yoga-based stretches to include in your program.
For the Hamstring
Located along the back of the leg, the hamstring is a critical muscle to keep flexible. Maintaining supple hamstrings can ensure higher, more powerful kicks and explosive capabilities that will propel the body forward when it’s time to...
by Christopher Rappold
In 2020, most martial arts schools had to put their teaching on hold because of the pandemic. We were told that we had to close our schools. We came back swinging on Zoom. We were told that we could open at 20-percent capacity, then at 40-percent capacity; with 6-foot distancing and 100-percent mask wearing; with no masks if we trained outside; and so on. Many schools were able to maintain their student body; unfortunately, some did not.
Now, here we are, more than a year later. Most schools still have some restrictions in place. Even if there are no legal restrictions, regaining the community’s confidence is a hurdle many of us must overcome because of the uncertainty COVID created. One form of marketing you should consider employing at this time is the kind that comes from the inside out.
I’m talking about the students who currently train with you in person, the ones who believe in you and trust you. They are vital to the success of your...
by Christopher Rappold
If you’re reading this column while this issue of MASuccess is current, chances are you’re a martial arts school owner who’s still dealing with COVID. Never has this industry taken such a hit!
So what are you going to do about it? The answer is you must rebuild, but you need to do so in a way that makes your school stronger and better because of COVID, not in spite of COVID. In this column, I’ll focus on two key areas you should explore to help your school have an epic comeback and sustained retention rate.
To get a clear perspective on this challenge, imagine that an outside expert has been hired to evaluate the scope of the damage that has been done. (Unless you take this step, you’ll be too close to your school to make an accurate evaluation.) Naturally, that third-party inspector would want to talk with you about your staff. The person might start by asking the following:
by Kathy Olevsky
I recently read a post in a Facebook group about how an instructor wanted to ban phones in the lobby. The idea, I believe, was to get parents to engage more with their children — with fewer distractions from their phones. Many experts in the martial arts business have said that we need to take giant steps in 2021 to get our businesses back to normal after a year of difficulties due to the COVID pandemic. However, there are ways to encourage parent participation and ways to alienate parents.
We instructors need to take into account that many parents and adult students have moved on to working remotely. In our school, there are parents who bring their children to class but are still on the clock for their jobs. They continue their work hours in our lobby or in their cars while their child trains. Some come in with their phones on because they’re on call. For this reason, we’ve decided to do whatever we can to help them improve their lives. Our...
by Kurt Klingenmeyer
As all school owners know, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of running a martial arts academy. The hours pass quickly when they revolve around teaching great classes and helping students reach their potential. Unfortunately, while that’s happening, some things can slide to the side and get forgotten.
Listed below are five things that you, as a martial arts instructor, should incorporate into your daily routine.
“Great Job” Calls
Make it a point to speak with five families every day to tell them what a great job their children are doing in class. Giving families individualized attention and letting them know about their children’s progress are key to the development of martial arts students. In addition to talking about a child’s martial arts progress, ask how the whole family is doing. Oftentimes, parents come to the martial arts for support — maybe the child needs more focus or...
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